Hot Air Rising In Marcellus Gas Controversy

Nor' east Thinkin'

EPA’s groundwater contamination findings in Wyoming threw hot gas on anti-fracking Occupiers here. Misinformation and public volatility could further

Published on: December 9, 2011

This week’s reactions to U.S. EPA’s report of Wyoming’s groundwater contamination by natural gas fracking were swift and volatile. Nowhere is that controversy hotter than in central and western New York State where a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing is still on.

Recent hearings held across the Empire State were jam-packed with vociferous anti-frackers every bit as noisy and provocative as the Occupiers of Wall Street. The Wyoming case is sure to add to the protesters demand to forestall ending New York’s moratorium on fracking. Public comment on the state’s proposed fracking and setback rules is supposed to close on January 11.

What’s most troubling is that news reporters, editorial commentators and bloggers either failed to actually read the EPA report or didn’t understand what it said. Prime suspects of the Pavillion, Wyoming, groundwater contamination were the fracking waste storage pits or ponds – not the wells themselves.

In fact, the well operators were already taking remedial actions. Those shallow pits were in sandstone bedrock – another concern.

EPA was also concerned about the lack of proper cementing on the well casings going down through the water aquifer. Cementing, according to the report was non-existent or sporadic. And, as it pointed out, that lesson was learned in the Marcellus and Utica shales of Pennsylvania and New York.

Unfortunately, the widespread misinformation will only incite anti-frackers, stir the political pot and likely impede progress. Watch for Tuesday’s article with more details about this controversy on this website.

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